1. Chesster
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    Chesster Member

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    Progressing from the Past

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Chesster, Jun 22, 2014.

    Is there one thing in particular, that you've learned from your previous works that has helped you to improve your writing skills?
     
  2. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Everything I know has been learned from previous works. My one big one is to develop my characters a bit more. I have far too many works that have just gone to the trash can because they are going nowhere. And this is mostly because I haven't developed the characters enough, if at all.

    So I think the answer is taking the time to carefully think about everything your characters do and say so that they become very strong :)
     
  3. Chesster
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    Chesster Member

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    I suppose it is a natural form of evolution, in learning from the past, the only one problem with evolution at times is bad habits.

    For example, I have been playing the guitar for a long time now. My brother was a great guitarist and I wanted to emulate that, but like him, it was a completely self taught process. Now there is a right and wrong way of playing, and holding the guitar. But me being overly keen, the fundamental side of things went out of the window, and I dived straight into learning chords. Now that I have been playing a long time, I have evolved as a player, but I have carried bad habits. Mainly being the none existent use of my little finger. The point I am trying to make, is it is important to take heed and progress, but only in a positive nature. Bad habits stick and can sometimes be very hard to shake.
     
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  4. hughesj
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    hughesj Member

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    Very true, however I think it is quite easy to know when something is 'right' with your writing. You know when you read something you've written and think 'wow, that is really good' (We all know this very rarely happens). Anyway, when this does happen, most of take note of what we did well there, even subconsciously. We are also readers, so we have something to compare our work to and something we aspire to have our work match. This would be hard with something like guitar, where you have very little to go off of (learning from watching your favourite guitarists is quite hard, since they are using techniques you are far from getting to). Anyway, just my two cents. I find it quite an interesting topic.
     
  5. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    I learned to pay closer attention to the language I'm using. This means looking at connotations, word order, and sentence structure.
     
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  6. cutecat22
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    cutecat22 The Strange One Contributor

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    I agree with you on that one, especially sentence structure.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    One thing? I'd have to say that the one thing that has helped me most is critiquing other people's writing and then going over my own writing.

    It's not a single event, that's true. But the single event was when I first realized I was applying what I had learned from giving a critique to improve my own writing. I was a Reviewer on the site at that time, before I became a Moderator, and I began recommending the giving of critiques as a learning tool.
     
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  8. xanadu
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    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

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    Between critiquing and reading others' critiques, I've learned so much about writing from the time I started to now. Reading others' critiques taught me things I did not know, and doing the critiquing helped to apply those things to the text--which in turn helped me edit my own stuff, hone my knowledge, and make fewer mistakes on the next go-round.

    Man, I can't imagine trying to play without using my fourth finger. I think I have the opposite problem--my bad habit is using it when I should be using my third finger.
     
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  9. Mike Kobernus
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    Mike Kobernus Contributing Member

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    The analogy of being a musician and a successful writer is kinda interesting. However, neither one requires being technically proficient. They both demand talent and passion before technical proficiency, in my opinion.

    John Lennon was not a great guitarist, but he did pretty good. Same with the piano. Hardly a classically trained pianist, yet, his Imagine is a beautiful song. I love his music, but I would never rate him as a musician. He was a songwriter and performer, but his technical proficiency was limited.

    As for writing, I definitely feel that I improve the more I write. So I throw myself into each project with total enthusiasm and dedication to making it as fine as possible. And I see the process is becoming easier, and I am becoming more critical.

    I see issues with changing tenses much faster, and deal with them. I remove little bits and pieces that just muddy the water without providing anything of value, so I slay them.

    I have a long way to go, I do not doubt. And I certainly do not consider myself to be fully proficient in all aspects of writing. But again, I believe that passion has more to say than being technically good.

    The way I see it...being creative is better than being a grammar nazi. One can easily be fixed, the other cannot be faked.
     
  10. daemon
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    daemon Contributing Member Contributor

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    Bingo. I would go even further and recommend rewriting portions of others' work, even if you are the only person who will ever read your revision. It forces you to notice every minute detail of your instinctive writing style, and it forces you to evaluate seriously every minute stylistic choice you make.
     

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